NEW YORK (Reuters) – Kazakhstan’s Yulia Putintseva reached the U.S. Open quarter-finals with a 6-3 2-6 6-4 victory over eighth seed Petra Martic in a see-saw encounter at Flushing Meadows on Sunday.
Putintseva surged into a 5-0 lead in 19 minutes on her way to taking the opening set but Croatian Martic appeared to have turned the match in her favour by easing through the second.
With Putintseva needing treatment on her back during the second set, it seemed the 29-year-old Martic was favourite to reach the last eight. Instead it was Putintseva who romped away into a 5-1 lead before nerves crept back in.
Martic clawed back three games before having her own timeout to deal with a foot injury — giving Putintseva plenty of time to think about the task of serving for victory.
On the resumption though Putintseva, the 23rd seed, held herself together admirably and produced an ear-splitting roar after sealing victory as Martic drilled a backhand into the net.
Putintseva is the first player representing Kazakhstan to reach a U.S. Open singles quarter-final.
“I was like I hope I’m not going to fall down and cramp,” Putintseva, who was playing for the first time on Arthur Ashe Stadium, said of her long wait to serve for victory at 5-4.
“This means a lot to me right now and I’m very happy. Because there were no fans at least it wasn’t so stressful.”
Putintseva started like a house on fire against a player she had never faced before, blazing through the opening games.
But Martic began to make inroads by mixing up the rallies and it was a relieved Putintseva who finally took the opener on her fourth set point.
Martic took control in the second set though as Putintseva’s level cooled off. Putintseva was not to be denied though and will have a great chance to reach her first Grand Slam semi-final when she takes on American Jennifer Brady.
(Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Pritha Sarkar and Toby Davis)